Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Arkansas coaches’ link to recruit key to visit
Arkansas assistant coach Marcus Woodson directs his players Thursday, March 16, 2023, during practice inside the Willard and Pat Walker Pavilion in Fayetteville.
Major Arkansas defensive back target PJ Woodland plans to visit Fayetteville soon thanks to his relationship with Razorbacks co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson and secondary coach Deron Wilson.
“I’m liking Arkansas. I talk to Coach Woodson and Wilson every day,” Woodland said.
Woodland, 6-0, 160 pounds, of Hattiesburg (Miss.) Oak Grove, has more than 20 offers from schools such as Arkansas, LSU, Texas, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Louisville and Florida State.
Woodson and Woodland’s relationship started prior to Woodson being named to the Arkansas staff in January.
“He came to see me at practice,” Woodland said of Woodson visiting the school during the spring evaluation period. “I’ve had a great relationship with Coach Woodson since he was at Florida State. He told me when he was at Florida State he loved me a lot. He said they wouldn’t let him offer me, but as soon as he touched down at Arkansas he said he had to get me.
“I’ve been building a relationship with those two guys and I plan to make a trip up there. It’s going to be an unofficial visit. I’m going June second and third.”
Woodland, who received an offer from Florida State on March 20, said Wilson’s roots help his connection with him.
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“He’s a great guy,” Woodland said. “He’s cool to be around. He’s from Louisiana, so he gives that southern vibe towards me. My parents have a good relationship with him as well.”
Rivals rates Woodland a 4-star prospect, the No. 22 cornerback and No. 186 overall prospect in the nation in the 2024 class. He recorded 38 tackles, 7 interceptions and 4 pass breakups as junior, and had 19 receptions for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Woodson and Wilson’s relentless pursuit of Woodland and their ability to help him improve his skill set makes the Hogs attractive.
“That they want me and I’ll be a great help to the Razorbacks,” he said. “I think Coach Woodson and Coach Wilson can develop me to be a great defensive back at their school.”
It appears Arkansas will be one of three visits for Woodland in June.
“I’ll think June first, I might be at Mississippi State,” Woodland said. “I’ll be at Texas June 16th through the 18th for an official visit and then that’s about it so far.”
Woodland named a top five of Mississippi State, Texas, Tennessee, Florida State and Texas A&M on April 11.
“That was my top five, but it was the top five I had best interest in at first but my recruitment is still 100% open to all schools that want to recruit me,” said Woodland, who’s looking to make his college decision before his senior season.
Woodland, who has a 3.2 grade point average, is looking to major in business.
“I want to go to school for business and finance,” Woodland said. “Learn about money, learn how to save it, learn how to put it away.”
He was impressed after hearing the reputation of the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
According to the UA website, an analysis of federal student loan data in The Wall Street Journal in 2021 found the Sam M. Walton College of Business MBA is the 11th-best return on investment out of 600 MBA programs across the country.
Woodland credits his mother for his frugal tendencies with money.
“My mom preaches a lot on that,” Woodland said. “She’s a realtor. She also works with insurance. She’s big on it.”
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